If you have a head full of natural hair like myself, wash day can be a bit intimidating if your new to the healthy natural hair scene. A bit of water touches your hair and you’re instantly introduced to shrinkage, tangles and knots. Knowing how to wash your natural hair is priceless. I’m going to give you my top tips for getting through wash day with natural hair.
1. Prepoo With Oil
If you need to familiarize yourself with the details of prepooing click here. I try to do a prepoo before every single shampoo, especially my clarifying shampoos since the entire process of washing can be very rough on the hair. Applying a natural oil to the hair from root to tip about 30 minutes before a shampoo can be nourishing and give a protective shield to the hair. I recently found out that coconut oil applied to the hair at least 20 minutes before shampooing can reduce stress known as hygral fatigue on the hair. So prepoo with coconut oil before hand to give your hair a fighting chance.
2. Section And Wash
If you have 6 inches or more of natural hair length, washing the whole head of hair loose may not be the best way to do things. Try sectioning your hair into 4 or 6 sections that twisted or braided. Remove one braid or twist at a time and wash that particular section only. Re-twist or braid the section when the section is washed. This process takes a lot longer, but fewer tangles, knots and breakage is totally worth it.
3. Lather Once With A Sulfate Free Shampoo
Shampoo is for cleaning the scalp, and the run off of water and suds work to clean the length of hair. If you get the scalp and hair sufficiently wet, you should be able to get shampoo right to the scalp and work a good lather. Rinse well with lukewarm water and your hair should be clean. If you feel like you need another wash, opt for a conditioner wash (co-wash) instead.
4. Follow Up with Conditioner
Don’t forget to always follow up your ‘poo with an instant conditioner and if you’re really feeling yourself, hop out and deep treat right quick with a gentle heat source! You will need to replenish the moisture back into your hair, as well as detangle your hair with a moisture rich conditioner. Check out this list of best products with slip.
5. Dry Hair With A Microfiber Towel or T-shirt
Traditional cotton towels can really tangle and break hair due to the structure. Try a microfiber towel or plain t-shirt to dry the hair instead. Be sure to squeeze and blot the water out of the hair and avoid rubbing.
Just remember that a little bit of breakage while washing or doing anything to the hair is inevitable, but be sure to keep an eye out for excessive breakage. Give yourself a good protein treatment, balance your hair out with moisture and assess your diet in this case. When all else fails…consult a physician. Doctors (sometimes) know best!
This article was originally published in May 2013 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.